Jews in Arab countries and Iran owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the Alliance Israelite Universelle, the French-based school system which hauled them out of their misery and ghettoes. The AIU's good work continues in Israel today, Karmel Melamed reports in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles:
"Nearly 350 Iranian Jewish members of the newly formed “Friends of Alliance Israelite in Southern California” a non-profit organization, gathered that day at the private residence of Jacqueline and Isaac Moradi in Beverly Hills to raise funds for the AIU’s agricultural school Mikveh Israel in Israel. Between 1898 and 1979, the AIU provided secular and Jewish education to Jews living through out Iran, an effort that indirectly resulted in Iranian Jews gaining wealth and leaving their ghettos.
" Gity Barkhordar, one of the event’s organizers said ticket sales and fundraising efforts at the event together generated roughly $1 million, which will be donated to Mikveh Israel for their renovation projects. It should be noted that Mikveh Israel was established in 1870 by the AIU on a tract of land southeast of Tel Aviv which they leased from the Sultan of Turkey. Even today, the school is still active in helping new immigrants to Israel to learn Hebrew and about agriculture techniques-- interestingly some of these new immigrants are Iranian Jews."
Read article in full